Monday, November 4, 2019

MY NEW HOMEMADE VEGAN PARMESAN-- DELICIOUS, EASY TO MAKE, INEXPENSIVE

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Yikes! It's been about 2 1/2 months since I last blogged!  But, I haven't stopped cooking or thinking about new recipes. As I wrote about in earlier blogs, I'm on a low-glycemic diet for early stages of diabetes, which sincerely I hope will not get any worse. So, being stubborn, I do alot of research and experimentation. Sometimes it's fun and we end up with something delicious, and sometimes it goes in the compost! A learning experience! 

These last couple of months, I've spent quite alot of time working on some new vegan cheeses. To tell you the truth, I've been a bit fed up with cashews, cashews, cashews when it comes to vegan cheese!  For one thing, they are expensive, especially the fair trade, organic variety.  For another, they can be ethically compromised (See 
https://bit.ly/2oLeHgM for more on these issues.)  My aim was (and is) to make a vegan cheese that is delicious, easy to make, inexpensive and made with easily-obtained ingredients, and without the need for culturing.

I ran across 
Martine's groundbreaking recipe for Vegan Steamed Rice Cheese at lowcarb-vegan.net/vegan-steamed-rice-cheese/  I tried it right away-- it was easy to make and tasty!

BUT, it was made with white rice flour, which is not particularly low-glycemic. I got the idea to use some sort of bean flour, along with some high-resistant-starch potato starch instead, and it worked beautifully. I added more nutritional yeast, along with some white miso (for a fermented flavor), onion powder and garlic granules, for more flavor. Even better!

My far-away Australian Facebook friend Fran was also working on such things and we shared our successes and failures. I hoped (and still hope) to make a cheese that melted, but I'm still working on that. But, one day I got the idea to grate this very firm, tasty cheese and it seemed to me to be a delicious and much less expensive alternative to commercial vegan "parmesan" products.

I'm working on some other versions of this type of cheese, which I will post very soon. But I wanted to share this one with you right now because we're so pleased with it.  Let me know what you think!



Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S VEGAN STEAMED BEAN FLOUR "VEGAN PARMESAN"
(Low-glycemic, high in protein and fiber, nut-free, soy-free)    
Makes enough to fill two 142g Earth Island/FollowYourHeart Vegan Grated Parmesan-Style Cheese shakers.

This very tasty cheese is high in protein from the bean flour, and is low-glycemic. It's also a great source of resistant starch (which acts as a soluble fiber). Potato starch [not the same thing as potato flour, BTW] is also very high in resistant starch and makes for a VERY firm cheese, suitable for grating or pulsing in a food processor. (See https://bit.ly/2PJhaU9 for info on resistant starch, which improves insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduces appetite and has various benefits for digestion.)

Ingredients:
    • 124 g (1 1/3 cup) chickpea flour (OR white bean flour, OR 2/3 cup of each)   
    • 41 g (1/4 cup, 
slightly packed-down) potato starch 
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil (preferably Fair Trade, organic)
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp. white miso
    • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic granules

Steps:
    1. Pour 2 cups water into your steamer pot, InstantPot or pressure cooker, equipped with a flat steamer basket in the bottom.

    2. Put all the ingredients into the jar of your blender, and blend until it forms a completely smooth, milky mixture, without lumps or visible oil droplets.


This is the Pyrex mold that I use.
   3. Pour the cheese mixture into a greased or parchment-lined Pyrex, metal or ceramicmold. Choose a mold that will hold 2 cups, with about 1/2 inch of “head room”. 

Place the mold onto the steamer basket.  I fold a long piece of aluminium foil lengthwise into a wide strip and use  it to lower the mold onto the steamer basket. This makes it easier to remove the hot mold from its close quarters after it's cooked, too!



4. Steam the cheese for about 45 minutes (or 25 minutes on Steam function in Instant Pot, or pressure cooker).  Release pressure in the InstantPot or pressure cooker after cooling down for about 20 minutes. 


Use the aluminum foil to lift the hot mold out of the pot onto a cooling rack.



After the steaming, the cheese will still be a bit soft. Don't worry, it will firm up once it cools. If a thin layer of water dripped onto the cheese from the pot's lid, drain this off carefully.

5. Let the cheese cool to room temperature and then cover it and put it into the fridge overnight to firm up.


 
Once it is firm, you can release it from the mold and store it in a lidded container for a week or so, or you can freeze half of it, well-wrapped. The cheese tastes best if you leave it to firm and develop flavor for a day or two before eating.
6.  You can grate the cheese on a box grater, if you wish, 


but I use a food processor. I cut the block into small squares and place them in a food processor. 



Pulse until they are chopped and then process until it looks like commercial grated parmesan. Taste it-- if you like, you can mix the ground cheese with a bit more nutritional yeast for a stronger flavor-- but add it a little bit at a time.

   
 Scoop the resulting "granules" into two shaker bottles-- I use two 142g Earth Island/FollowYourHeart Vegan Grated Parmesan-Style Cheese shakers. Or, if you prefer, cut the block in half,  process one half, and freeze on half, well wrapped, for grating later.




Enjoy!